Brouillon in-Practice

[If you’ve clicked here before reading the Background and Explanation, then consider visiting those pages first for more context!] 

Brouillon in-Practice:

It is a hard sell to my writing students, but I’ve discovered that I can convince them of the importance and necessity of disorder and chaos during the writing process.


In one word: Play.

I am sure most of us have heard of the overall general benefits of play in child and adolescent development. But there is some truly fascinating and exciting research being published regarding the benefits of play specifically in the writing classroom.

For example, Tom Batt’s article from the American Journal of Play (I’m not making this up – this is a legitimate academic journal!) has written about the benefits of play in his composition courses. (If you’re interested, you can read his full article here.)

Play Strategies I’ve Used:

  • Origami Crane Folding Exercise
  • Play-Dough Exercise
  • Comic Book Drawing Exercise
  • Bread Baking Workshops

…. and that’s just to name a few.

Here is an adaptation of a handout I typically share with my students when I conduct the initial Brouillon Workshop in my writing classes.

It sets the right tone and I think any writer could use it to begin thinking about and exploring the sometimes chaotic journey they embark upon while writing.

Taking time to play — to do anything other than write — is such an important aspect of a writer’s process. It might feel like procrastination. But it’s not.

So no more guilt when you break from writing to go collect leaves in the fall. 🙂

You are engaging in combinatory play! (And if it was good enough for Albert Einstein, then it is certainly going to work for you!)

I will continue to unpack these examples and share more thoughts and strategies regarding writing process and play as blog posts.

But, in the meantime, I hope this explains one of my blog post categories (Brouillon – My Writing Effects  — kinda clunky, I know) and maybe it will offer some of you writers out there some creative outlets while composing during your own writing journeys.

Writing has got to be an act of discovery….I write to find out what I’m thinking about.        –Edward Albee

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Brouillon by SQ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.